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story.lead_photo.caption James Ryan Harris

Lending a helping hand to a colleague in need earned James Ryan Harris the honor of being chosen as Missouri's State Employee of the Month for September.

Harris, of New Madrid, is a social services unit supervisor in the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services with 13 years of service as a state employee.

He learned another employee in his circuit had recently lost her brother-in-law in a tragic accident. Harris became aware the employee was struggling personally and also needed help to move her widowed sister into her home to ensure she would not be alone following her husband's death.

He volunteered to help the employee with the task of moving. He showed up on his day off with a trailer and two other Children's Division employees he had recruited, one of whom was the circuit manager.

"He stayed the entire time with the employee and her family and helped move everything out of the (sister's) home," Jacalyn Hargett, a social services specialist, wrote on Harris' nomination form. "A day that should have been used to enjoy time off and with his family, Ryan used to help an employee with CD so that it would be one less thing she would have to worry about, and he didn't leave until it was all done."

Hargett credited Harris with increasing office morale through teamwork and demonstrating that Children's Division employees, who routinely offer support to others, are not alone when they need support.

"The work Ryan did that day provided 'over and above' service which reflects favorably on the agency as it shows that CD not only serves the public in our local communities, but also the employees who spend countless hours helping families in our area," she observed.

"Ryan knew the most important thing for this employee was being with her family during this difficult time, and if he could do anything to help at all, he would in an instant. He devoted an entire Saturday to help this employee; this was done completely on his personal time, and he never hesitated to help."

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